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Patent thickets, licensing and innovative performance

  • Cockburn, Iain M.
  • MacGarvie, Megan J.
  • Müller, Elisabeth

We examine the relationship between fragmented intellectual property (IP) rights and the innovative performance of firms, taking into consideration the role played by in-licensing of IP. We find that firms facing more fragmented IP landscapes have a higher probability of in-licensing. For firms with small patent portfolios we also find a positive association between fragmentation and licensing costs as a share of sales. We observe a negative relationship between IP fragmentation and innovative performance, but only for firms that engage in in-licensing. In contrast, greater IP fragmentation is associated with higher innovative performance for firms that do not in-license. Furthermore, the effects of fragmentation on innovation also appear to depend on the size of a firm’s patent portfolio. These results suggest that the effects of fragmentation of upstream IP rights are not uniform, and instead vary according to the characteristics of the downstream firm.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 08-101 [rev.].

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:08101r
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  1. Mueller, Elisabeth & Harhoff, Dietmar & Haeussler, Carolin, 2009. "To Be Financed or Not : The Role of Patents for Venture Capital Financing," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-003, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Joshua Gans & Scott Stern, 2003. "When does funding research by smaller firms bear fruit?: Evidence from the SBIR program," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 361-384.
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  5. Shapiro, Carl, 2000. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard-Setting," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt4hs5s9wk, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  7. Ashish Arora & Andrea Fosfuri & Alfonso Gambardella, 2004. "Markets for Technology: The Economics of Innovation and Corporate Strategy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262511819, June.
  8. Siebert, Ralph & Graevenitz, Georg von, 2006. "How Licensing Resolves Hold-Up: Evidence from a Dynamic Panel Data Model with Unobserved Heterogeneity," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 105, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  9. James Bessen & Eric Maskin, 2006. "Sequential Innovation, Patents, and Imitation," Economics Working Papers 0025, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  10. Iain M. Cockburn & Megan J. MacGarvie, 2009. "Patents, Thickets and the Financing of Early-Stage Firms: Evidence from the Software Industry," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 729-773, 09.
  11. Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2002. "When Does Start-Up Innovation Spur the Gale of Creative Destruction?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 571-586, Winter.
  12. Bruno Cassiman & Reinhilde Veugelers, 2000. "External technology sources: Embodied or disembodied technology acquisition," Economics Working Papers 444, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  13. Alberto Galasso & Mark Schankerman, 2008. "Patent Thickets and the Market for Innovation: Evidence from Settlement of Patent Disputes," CEP Discussion Papers dp0889, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  14. Geradin, Damien & Layne-Farrar, Anna & Padilla, Atilano Jorge, 2007. "Royalty Stacking in High Tech Industries: Separating Myth from Reality," CEPR Discussion Papers 6091, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Bessen, James, 2004. "Holdup and licensing of cumulative innovations with private information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 321-326, March.
  16. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
  17. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Kraft, Kornelius, 2005. "License Expenditures of Incumbents and Potential Entrants: An Empirical Analysis of Firm Behavior," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-35, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  18. Link, Albert N. & Scott, John T., 2003. "U.S. science parks: the diffusion of an innovation and its effects on the academic missions of universities," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(9), pages 1323-1356, November.
  19. A. Jorge Padilla & Damien Geradin & Anne Layne-Farrar, 2007. "Royalty Stacking In High Tech Industries: Separating Myth From Reality," Working Papers wp2007_0701, CEMFI.
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